Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt

An Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt - The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions -  A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Homeschool Review Crew @

When the latest audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions came out, we were excited to be able to review it for the Homeschool Review Crew! We've loved every installment in this series so far, and with The Cat of Bubastes on our homeschool reading list anyway, we were sure to enjoy this as well.
Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Heirloom Audio Productions has been bringing history to life through exciting audio dramas based on the well-loved stories of G.A. Henty since 2013, and each one is packed with adventure and heroes worth admiring. And the whole family can enjoy these "active listening" adventure experiences together. Each audio drama features an award-winning cast and composer, and realistic sound effects.

The latest in "The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty" series takes us back to ancient Egypt, and a story of perseverance, responsibility, and God's providence in The Cat of Bubastes. This happens to be the first Henty novel that Kennady and I remember reading, and I think my boys all remember it as well. The Cat of Bubastes is also on Kennady's required reading list this year, so we had every reason to be excited about listening to Heirloom Audio's adaptation!

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

We received the 2-CD set, which is more than two hours of exciting listening. Included is access to a downloadable 47-page Study Guide. We also received the mp3 version of the soundtrack, a beautifully illustrated full-color E-Book of the original Henty novel, a printable copy of the inspirational verse featured in the story, a printable copy of the cast poster, access to a behind-the-scenes documentary, and access to the  Live the Adventure Letter E-Newsletter published by Heirloom Audio.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
Live the Adventure e-Newsletter
The audio drama is based on the G.A. Henty novel of the same name, which tells the story of a young prince, Amuba, and his faithful protector Jethro after they are captured and made slaves by the Egyptians. They have the great fortune of being chosen to be servants to an Egyptian high priest's family.  Amuba and Jethro soon grow to respect and appreciate the high priest, and form a friendship with his son Chebron, who is Amuba's age. When a stray arrow from Chebron's bow kills the family's sacred cat, they all find themselves in great danger and the loyalty, courage, and character of all three are tested. 

As we've come to expect from Heirloom Audio, the quality of the production is outstanding, with voices provided by great actors and a soundtrack and sound effect that added to the excitement and made it feel like we were in the midst of the action. As I've said in our previous reviews, it's like watching a movie except there's no screen. The story, of course, is an exciting one, and features strong characters that demonstrate loyalty, courage, and other godly values.

We chose to listen to the CDs, and did most of our listening as we were driving to and from our various activities. And even when we had one of the boys along with us, they were definitely drawn in by the story, and I know they remembered the basic plot from when they read it. It certainly came to life in a much more exciting way than when I read it aloud! The mp3 was included in our package, which Kennady will be listening to in a week or two when she needs to review the novel again for her History unit on Egypt. She often enjoys listening to the soundtrack on mp3 as well.

I love that Heirloom Audio includes the original G.A. Henty story in the bonuses, so you can read the story as he first told it. This e-book version is beautifully illustrated and in full color, so it's a pleasure to read.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
E-book title page
Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

As for the Study Guide, we will be using quite a bit of it during Kennady's history unit on Egypt, simply because it's a great resource for reviewing the story for comprehension and going a little deeper in studying the historical setting and some of the background. Heirloom's Study Guides offer helpful background on the historical settings and figures in each story, and in this one the historical figure is Moses. He makes only a brief appearance in the tale itself, but the Study Guide explains who he was, and also give a little information on the Hebrew people living in Egypt, and on the Pharaohs. For each chapter of the audio drama, there are questions for Listening Well (simple questions designed to check comprehension) and Thinking Further (questions to explore motives of characters, opinions about the story, and prompt research about topics mentioned) that can be used as part of a homeschool study, or just for discussion. There are also vocabulary lists of some of the words that may be unfamiliar, and a number of Expand Your Learning sections. These are brief sidebars explaining a bit more about geography, religion, and culture. Through these sections, we can learn about the Egyptian diet, hieroglyphs, mummification, and the animals mentioned in the story. And finally, there are three Bible studies that give the Scripture references for the various Biblical ideas and background mentioned in the story.

An Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt - The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions -  A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Homeschool Review Crew @
Study Guide background on Moses
An Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt - The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions -  A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Homeschool Review Crew @

An Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt - The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions -  A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Homeschool Review Crew @

What we liked best:

  • I say it every time - the exciting "you are there" quality of the story-telling and production!
  • likable and relatable characters with many admirable qualities
  • the beautiful e-Book and Study Guide, which offers so many possibilities for further learning. By the way, the Study Guide once again has the corresponding Track Numbers and times from the CD to reference - which makes it so easy to review for something we've missed or know exactly which part of the story to pay attention to.

What I need to mention:

  • because this is an audio theater adaptation of the book, there are sections and details of the book that are left out (in other words, you can't exactly follow along in the e-Book), and the fight scenes have realistic sound effects to go with them. Very young or sensitive children may be bothered by scenes in which there are injuries or deaths.
  • the Study Guide is presented in full color, which makes it beautiful to look at but potentially costly to print out at home. Also keep in mind that there is not an Answer Key to the questions.

Our bottom line: We continue to love all things Heirloom Audio and this presentation of The Cat of Bubastes kept us on the edge of our seats even though we were already familiar with the story! We loved how the characters came to life for us, with the friendships, dramatic adventures, warmth and humor made so real by the excellent acting and production. I especially love the basis in Biblical history in this story, and the positive message of finding courage through trusting in the One True God.

And . . . we caught the hint of the next adventure to come in the series and are looking forward to it already! (Be sure to also check out our full review of In Freedom's CauseAn Extraordinary Adventure in Scottish History our full review of With Lee In VirginiaAn Extraordinary Adventure With Lee In Virginia our full review of The Dragon and the RavenAn Extraordinary Adventure With Alfred the Great;  and our full review of Beric the BritonBeric the Briton - Another Extraordinary Adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions.)

An Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt - The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions -  A Homeschool Coffee Break review for the Homeschool Review Crew @

Would your family like to come along on this extraordinary adventure? Here's what you need to know:

Pricing: See the Heirloom Audio website for purchasing options and full pricing information.

You can follow Heirloom Audio on Facebookon Twitter, on Google+, and on Instagram @HeirloomAudioOfficial. 

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews.

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

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